HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — 15 years ago, Priscilla Bucci and Mike Matthias’ 4-year-old son was diagnosed with autism. Now at 19, Henry is a success story in the Autism Speaks’ community.
When Henry was first diagnosed, there were few resources for parents of kids on the spectrum. When Mike discovered Autism Speaks, the family joined the the fight to change that.
"I was just online and I found Autism Speaks and I thought well that’s something and I was reading up on them and I liked what their mission was and I said well okay I will create a fundraising team. I did it through my office, I was with that State’s Attorney’s Office of Harford County at that time and I got a bunch of my co-workers to come along and be my teammates and we created this team called Hank Rocks, " explained Mike.
Over the years, the family has raised over $130,000 for Autism Speaks and about $75,000 of that has come from their annual Bingo game.
The game is supported by neighbors, friends and local businesses.
"Last year it was just short of 300 folks that were there and it was about an $8,500 event," the family continued.
This year, the event will be held at Jarrettsville VFW on October 17 at 6 p.m. There will be masks required and social distancing in place. Tickets are $15 in advance.
"The folks that you run into in the Autism Speaks community are ready to absorb information and provide information and there’s a lot of value in that, especially for parents of newly diagnosed children," Matthias said.